Not a day goes by without someone claiming that they’re sitting on the proverbial gold mine, if only government would stump up a bit of cash. That someone is often a person who has a direct financial interest in the idea, and/or has done quite well at a previous venture, so brings survivorship bias into play.
The recent federal Budget included $2 billion worth of funding for a ‘Hydrogen Headstart’ program. Tim Ayres, Assistant Minister for Trade and Assistant Minister for Manufacturing, provided some details on the government’s reasoning for the program: “This Budget was a great budget for Australian manufacturing. Two billion dollars in the Hydrogen Headstart program, which will be there to create a market for hydrogen production in Australia to make sure hydrogen production is onshore in Australia with Australian technology and an Australian workforce.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Australia’s Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, “will more purposefully direct investment flows to priority areas such as clean energy, through market design and co-investment”. Also known as industrial policy, Chalmers looks set to revive a relic of 1970s economic thinking: “We will employ this co-investment model in more areas of the economy, with programs already under way in the industry, housing and electricity sectors.